NU Online News Service, Jan. 4, 12:33 p.m. EST
Insurers may not know the true impact of a recent snow storm that blanketed the Northeast until the ice and snow melt, but for now State Farm, the area’s leading insurer, said it has received nearly 600 claims as of Monday at midnight.
The claims count includes upstate and metro New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont, according to State Farm spokeswoman Luz Correa.
“The melting snow over the next several days may cause an ice dam spike but, for now, a catastrophic increase is not expected,” she said in an e-mail.
Nevertheless, at the moment claims are mounting quickly. The claims count yesterday was about half of what it is today, said Ms. Correa.
Metro New York has filed 205 claims and upstate has filed 77, according to the latest tally. State Farm has gotten 84 claims from New Jersey and 171 from Pennsylvania.
Allstate spokesman Walter Tomasheski in New Jersey said the company has received claims for collapsed roofs over porches, leaky roofs and ice dams. Ice dams occur when snow melt backs up behind roof ice and leaks into the home.
Jaclyn Darrohn, Allstate spokeswoman in New York, said, “The nature of this event makes it difficult to provide an accurate claims figure at this time.” Damage may not be apparent until the ice melts, she said.
Because the snow was light instead of heavy, damages may be less than expected for a storm that caused blizzard conditions, shut down major airports and transit systems, and dumped more than 30 inches of snow in Union County, N.J. The storm blanketed Central Park in New York City with 20 inches of snow, the sixth-highest total since records-keeping started in 1869.
Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, said storms such as the one Dec. 26 in the Northeast are anticipated by insurers and “can be handled as a matter of routine.”
Winter storms are the third-largest cause of catastrophe losses, behind only hurricanes and tornadoes. From 1990-2009, winter storms resulted in about $25 billion in insured losses.